Be it an art piece or an image; symmetricity is all around us! Ever seen a snowflake and wondered how perfect and symmetrical it is? Hence, symmetries lie at the heart of the laws of nature.
By definition, a shape or a 3-dimensional entity, if there exists an imaginary line that divides it into two equal halves, are all symmetrical objects, and a detailed study of these objects is referred to as symmetry. While there are plenty of ways to teach the kids about symmetry, introducing the same through activities can surely be a good way as kids can then relate to real-life objects that are symmetrical.
Children will be more observant toward nature as most of the activities involve things and objects from nature like leaves, animals, and insects. Hence it will also increase their cognitive skills along with development.
Moreover, symmetry comes into use in many professions like fashion designing, crafting, art, and even architecture! Therefore, students must be well-versed with the concepts. For the same, they can indulge in some interactive activities which can help them absorb the topic well.
Symmetry Activities For Little Learners
1. Geo boards
A geoboard is a panel with nails on it, ensuring the practitioner wove thread along them to form shapes like triangles, polygons, and so on. You can also employ wooden boards with screws inserted into the board.
To start with, take a rubber band or string of thread or wool and make a shape like a triangle or square. Ask the child to make the same shape next t-o the shape you made. Now, they would have to count the number of screws inside the shape you made, and let them count the screws inside theirs. The students need to observe along with you if the shape looks symmetrical, identical and the number of screws is the same or not.
Origami is one of the oldest Japanese arts that is an excellent source of teaching symmetry.
To start with, the mentor needs to procure a sheet of paper. The student is preached to make origami, say a puppy face. Now the students look at the fabricated origami and need to draw the imaginary line that shows its symmetricity.
Origami helps in learning basic mathematical or geographical shapes as it gives a visual experience of space. It also helps in learning the sense of sequencing as origami is all about patiently making a figure, fold after fold, with each crease leading to perfection.
3. Vegetable printing
This may be a facile way of noticing symmetry. To start with, Cut up a few vegetables like Okra, Onion and create prints on paper using paint or ink. Fold the paper and get the exact copy on the other side. A similar practice can be employed with butterflies- by making one wing using the vegetable stamps on one side of the paper, fold and get a symmetrical image on the other side!
This activity will help in developing a sense of symmetry, a knowledge about vegetables, their various shapes and sizes, and also a sense of design and colour!
4. Creating Mirror Books
To start with, Take two mirrors and tape them together at the right angle of the same size and width. Place it on a table, shelf, or on any flat surface. Put various daily life objects in front of the mirror book which will lead to creating beautiful, visual mandalas with multiple lines of symmetry. Now, ask the learner to mark one or more lines of symmetry on the mirror with a temporary marker that can be erased later on.
This activity is great for sowing the seeds of understanding and developing a child’s mind for exploration of how symmetry works and also helps in building communication skills when you ask your child to explain what he or she is observing.
5. Clay Models
Clay is often a safe and admirable play material for its molding benefits. Students may feel engrossed in creating meaningful shapes out of them.
To start with, students create various shapes like spheres, cubes, and prisms and make a snowman or any real-life figure or animal using the clay models. Once the modeling is completed, they need to figure out the line of symmetry and mark them accordingly.
This will increase the observatory skills in the brain, and teach about symmetry effectively. The activity will also help in bringing out a child’s own imagination and creativity.
6. Exploring symmetry with paper cut
Take a piece of paper and fold it in half. Take a scissor and start making a cut from the middle of the fold. Now, make a design while you cut, such as a butterfly or flower – this is one of the easiest ways to explain symmetry.
Once done, open the fold of the paper and make your child see a beautiful butterfly or flower created with just a paper fold, with identical and symmetrical designs on both sides of the paper.
This activity will make your child curious and will also ignite the spark of creativity. Please keep a lookout while your child uses a pair of scissors.
7. Color the shapes
Here the pupils make figures, animals, and objects using only geometrical shapes in such a way that they look symmetrical. Ask your child to fill the shapes with similar colors and complete the whole figure. For example, they can make a cat using two circles. Later, using a ruler, the teacher can mark dotted lines to show the symmetry in the geometrical cat.
This simple yet engaging activity will help in understanding and identifying the shapes and designs but along with that, the kid will observe that when two sides of an object or figure look the same, it is symmetry.
8. Picture Folding
Identifying the line of symmetry can take an interesting turn when the little one is asked to fold the shape. To start with, an image is procured on paper; the teacher can either draw it or procure a printout. When the student receives the sheet, they get a couple of minutes to observe the image and estimate the line of symmetry. Now they fold the image to turn into exact halves.
This simple activity not only ensures creativity but also a strong foundation of the concept for the learner. These pictures can also be stuck to the kid’s notebook later on, so that they can revise it by looking at the figure whenever they wish to!
9. Nature Traversing
Take a stroll in your backyard or garden, or in the school playground and ask the pupils to find some leaves. Take some fallen leaves from the ground! Teachers and educators must make sure that kids should not pluck any leaves for this activity. Now, ask them to observe the leaf and see how it is divided. Ask them to identify the lines of symmetry, if it’s horizontal or vertical. The teacher or any adult can ask them a question to ponder about, to find out the most symmetrical leaves are present in nature belonging to which tree?
10. Snowflakes making
A great wintertime activity can be held using cotton swabs to make snowflakes! This activity can be great for kids living in areas where it snows. For them, the teachers can host an outdoor trip, where they need to look for snowflakes. Once they have collected them, the teachers, using magnifying glasses can show how symmetrical a snowflake it. This can be a classic example of how symmetry occurs in nature. It is said, that a snowflake is the most perfect symmetrical natural object.
However, for students living in areas where it doesn’t snow, teachers can use printables, or even figures of snowflakes to describe the same. To amp up the activity, teachers can ask students to draw a snowflake on paper, and fill it with cotton. The cotton can be stuck to the paper inside the design of the snowflake using glue. Now, using a marker, mark the lines of symmetry to show how symmetry occurs in nature.
This activity will not only instill the knowledge of symmetry but also increase your child’s observation skills, and concentration and increase the knowledge of nature.
Learning can be ensured in a number of styles. Especially something that involves shapes and designs. You can find them all around you; accordingly, find symmetry everywhere. Through these above-mentioned 10 activities, we hope to help you and your child or student to expedite through the world of symmetry and explore everything that is possible in their capabilities. Our activities may be the stepping stone that will bring more fun to the table of learning. We hope this helping hand helped you well and made symmetry more fun and exciting!
An engineer, Maths expert, Online Tutor and animal rights activist. In more than 5+ years of my online teaching experience, I closely worked with many students struggling with dyscalculia and dyslexia. With the years passing, I learned that not much effort being put into the awareness of this learning disorder. Students with dyscalculia often misunderstood for having just a simple math fear. This is still an underresearched and understudied subject. I am also the founder of Smartynote -‘The notepad app for dyslexia’,